A US court has ordered a young hacker to give over Bitcoin worth $5.2 million
U.S.-based teenage hacker Ahmad Wagaafe Hared had to hand up almost $5.2 million in Bitcoin (BTC), Stellar (XLM), and a BMW sports vehicle to the authorities last month.
Last week’s injunction reportedly came about because of Hared’s participation in a SIM-swapping plot that targeted crypto executives in Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The SIM-swapping plan, masterminded by Hared, started in 2016 and was disrupted by law enforcement in 2019.
Before agreeing to a plea deal with law enforcement, Hared and his associates tried to contact their victims. After that, they’d get in touch with mobile phone companies and trick staff into thinking they were the rightful owners of the compromised numbers.
Then they made a card swap, thereby stealing the victims’ phone numbers. The hacker used this method to steal cryptocurrency from their victims’ email and other accounts.
The large sum of assets ordered to be forfeited is indicative of the effectiveness of this operation. Hared has to give over 119.8 BTC (now worth $5.2m) and 93,420 XLM. A 2017 BMW sports automobile, suspected of being stolen, must also be returned to the government.
Over three years have passed since the arrest of the teenage hacker. As previously reported, Hared struck a plea bargain in 2019, albeit the terms of the settlement have not been made public since many court records are under seal. Hared, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct wire fraud, will be sentenced in January 2024.
Details suggest that this case is related to the 2019 indictment and guilty plea of Anthony Francis Faulk, aka “shade,” for conspiracy to conduct wire fraud in connection with a separate SIM-swapping scam.
To fund their nuclear weapons development, a blockchain intelligence business called Chainalysis recently reported that hackers with ties to North Korea stole over $200 million worth of cryptocurrency.
The CoinsPaid hack, which cost $34 million, was blamed on Lazarus Group in August. The group is believed to have the support of the North Korean government. The FBI believes they were also responsible for the breach of Stake.com. Over forty million dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency was stolen in the casino’s attack.
To get their hands on Bitcoin and other money, hackers use methods including SIM swapping, phishing, supply chain assaults, and infrastructure intrusions.